New Laing O'Rourke UK and Europe boss Tony Douglas this week signalled his intention to take the contractor “upstream” to compete with international political giants like Bechtel.
The business has already gone head to head with heavyweight Bechtel for the job of programme manager of London's Olympics, and won, as part of the CLM consortium.
“I want the client to start with me, not put effort into working with others and then engage us,” he said.
“It's not the Bechtel model. It's more sophisticated. Does it inhabit their space? Yes it does.”
Douglas said he was chasing the opportunity upstream and pointed out that 80 per cent of cost is locked in at design.